North Texas Daily

Construction creates sidewalk gridlock

Construction creates sidewalk gridlock

Construction creates sidewalk gridlock
September 24
07:59 2013

Andrew Freeman / Staff Writer

Construction has been a common sight around campus lately, obstructing sidewalks, blocking entrances and earning mixed reactions from students.

The administration in charge of the construction is trying to make this as smooth of a process as possible for not just the students, but everyone at UNT.

“One of the biggest things we’re trying to do is to get the word out of what areas are under construction, so students know what to avoid,” Director of Facilities Management and Construction Helen Bailey said. “As a group, we are trying to make students aware of what will be happening ahead of time so they can make plans accordingly.”

Every month on its website, UNT Facilities releases a construction report with information on what obstructions will be where, and why that particular construction is going on.

“What we do is go around and put together a list of all construction going around that could affect student access to campus,” Bailey said. “Originally, this was done for the office of Disability and Accommodation, but I think at this point it’s a good reference point for everybody, especially with more construction on this campus than we ever have had.”

For example, according to the report, the sidewalk construction near the General Academic Building going on right now is to address drainage issues.

“In fact, most of the construction we are doing right now is for utilities and maintenance and is done by the city,” Bailey said. “As we finish those projects, we will start on the others, but for now, that is our priority.”

The most recent change, scheduled to be completed by Oct. 4, is the demolition of Scoular Hall to make room for expansion of the Union.

The university will also begin construction to add a water line under Highland Street today, which will affect several bus routes along that road. The construction will begin at the intersection of Highland Street and North Texas Boulevard today and tomorrow and move down the street as each intersection is completed. Normal bus routes should resume by Sept. 30.

For convergence broadcast media junior Philip Hopwood, none of this construction is worth it.

“I wish it would be done long before 2015,” Hopwood said. “I may not even be able to be here to use the new facilities, so it’s just a hassle.”

However, a few students asked about the construction going on around Scoular Hall and the Union said they see it as a worthy trade off.

“I think it’s great,” psychology freshman Jonathan Cooper said. “The construction zones are a little different, but I’m looking forward to when the Union is finished, so I have somewhere to go and hang out.”

Graduate exchange student Nora Engleitner said that she has already grown accustomed to the renovations.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” Engleitner said. “You get used to it quickly.”

The administration said the construction is important to maintain campus and create a better environment for all the students. With most of the construction done by the city, Bailey said it was out of the facility department’s hands.

“The construction that will start on Highland Street, for example, is not a choice,” Bailey said. “A lot of construction is for the utilities to maintain the campus and the rest was voted on by the student body. I don’t think any construction we do is frivolous, and ultimately improves the campus for everyone, but students most of all.”

Precision Demolition workers attempt to fix the demolishing crane before it takes down Scoular Hall. Scoular Hall is set to be demolished today around 7:30 a.m. Feature photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer 

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